All of the buzz leading up to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship match-up is how people seem to hate John Calipari. My mom, who knows nothing about sports knows that she doesn’t even like him.

Some fans point to Calipari’s arrogance. Others call him a cheater, pointing out the fact that his then University of Memphis team had to vacate their 38 wins and trip to the championship game, stemming from major infractions, including fraudulent  SAT scores by Derrick Rose.

Calipari is a winning, and in the world of sports, that’s often enough to make people hate you. He always seems to have a gray cloud over his head, but the man gets it done. Memphis knew what they were signing up for and so did the University of Kentucky. What both schools got in return were trips to the National Championship game.

Kentucky, on the other hand, has been there twice under Calipari and they’ve done it in a very unconventional way. Most would believe having to turn over rosters so quickly would make it too difficult to build a powerhouse, but Coach Cal has found a way to do it. He’s brought in NBA lottery pick after lottery pick and those guys have stayed one, and in some cases two years and have been out the door. That hasn’t hindered Calipari from getting all that he can get out of these youngsters. He’s done a great job at it as well.

Monday night’s match-up has Calipari’s team going against the Kansas Jayhawks. Bill Self’s team beat Calipari’s Memphis team in the 2008 National Championship game. While all of the talk is about Calipari, Self is traveling under the radar, piling up a very impressive resume of his own. If he wins, not only will that mark his second championship in five years, it will be his second over Calipari. Don’t think both coaches aren’t well aware of that.

Rob Long

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